Last week was full of big and small incidents that left me drained and emotional. By Friday afternoon one small incident was enough to tip my emotional bucket and leave me in tears. And while the weekend (and my mood) improved I knew that with the boys heading to their dads for a week I was up for another tough week.
Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy the quiet and having some time to myself after a couple of hours it is to quiet and too much time.
However knowing a week away from the boys is tough, and that I was already in a low spot I decided I needed to try and position myself for a good week as much as possible.
Step one: Sunday (last day with the boy) had to be about forgetting the terrible weather and messy house and more about having fun and building memories. Ten pin bowling followed by arcade games and lunch fit the bill perfectly.
Step two: get back to taking food to work so that I save money and eat healthier.
Step three: go shopping for healthy snacks and dinner ingredients. Then add a packet of Tim Tams – just because thy are my favourite and without kids I could eat all of them without hiding.
Step four: cook a huge batch of chickpea and vegetable curry to cover dinners for the next few days as having the motivation to cook healthy dinners for one can be difficult when I get home from work. Was very happy with how it turned out. There is something about slow cooking, curry and winter that all just goes together.
Next steps: fingers crossed for better weather so I can get out for walks. Weatherman is not filing me with confidence – after all it is Melbourne and winter.
And the rest is unknown at this stage.
Next Friday night I am going to an 80’s night in the city for a girls night out.
This started thoughts of 80’s fashion and what to wear. I was born in 1977 so for the first part of the 80’s I had little to no say in what I wore. However I do have some strong memories of the fashion and the decade.
A look around at the shops shows that a revamped, slightly tweaked and not so bright 80’s fashion revival is occurring – minus the big shoulder pads.
A quick trip to the op shop and $2 type bargain stores with my friend has my outfit almost sorted.
- Fluorescent yellow mini skirt worn over black leggings
- Pink midriff top (worn over a black singlet as I am 40 not 18!)
- Pink leg warmers
- Fluorescent plastic bangles and beads
What I didn’t take into account was the freezing winters night in Melbourne at the moment so thought will have to be put into what I can wear to keep warm (once again showing I am 40 and not 18).
What are your fashion memories of the 80s? Have I missed any key elements that I should consider adding?
My boys went to their dads last night for a couple of nights. I find that when they are gone I usually pack my to do list full. This is for a few reasons. Firstly it is much quicker to get things done when it is just me, secondly the house is quiet and empty without two boisterous boys running around, and finally I hate feeling that I have wasted my time alone when it gets to the end of the weekend.
Sometimes being on my own is very lonely and other days it is about being alone and enjoying my space and my time. I have learnt that there is a big difference between alone and loneliness over the last few months.
So today was another jam-packed day and this one especially so as it is my youngest’s birthday on Monday. Tomorrow night he is having some friends for a sleepover so while I was very busy preparing for his party I was also conscious of enjoying some peace before the craziness of 6 and 7-year-old boys.
So in the business of the day I try to add some elements that are for me and often it is the simple things that are hard to enjoy when busy being a Mum. Today’s simple elements of the day that made me pause and appreciate the day were:
- Making avocado and poached eggs on toast for breakfast and sitting down for a while to enjoy it with a cup of tea.
- Playing music that was all my choice and singing along.
- Sitting down with dinner and a glass of wine to watch something on Netflix.
So in the middle of a crazy weekend I found time to enjoy the peace. lets call it the calm before the storm.
Some days I have mixed feelings about social media. It can be a good/bad time waster, paint a picture of how people want you to see their life, a way to keep in touch with people who are not close by and, especially for me at the moment, be a great way to join forums and support groups. One of my closest friends says that she can tell when I am doing it tough as I retreat from all forms of social media and “hide” from the world.
Recently I have used social media to get back in contact with someone I went to school with and haven’t seen since a friends wedding 18 years ago. We have been corresponding with each other by text and phone for the last few months and yesterday we met for a coffee. Even though I was nervous after so many years it was easy and comfortable – with some friends it just doesn’t seem to matter how long you have been apart you can just reconnect.
So I guess I can add another point to the pro side of my social media list (keeping in mind I am listed by my married name so school friends will have to wait until I contact them!!)
So many blogs and websites that I follow at the moment are discussing self-care and why it is so important for Mums to do something that is for them….to take time out, re-centre and rediscover, relax and rejuvenate.
While I agree wholeheartedly there are occasions where it just feels like an extra pressure being placed on Mums – find more time in your day to add in more things that will help make you a better Mum. As a single Mum of two young boys that works and doesn’t have family support nearby it is something I set out to do but don’t always achieve.
With the last weekend having been the four-day Easter weekend I sat back to review what I had done for self care and have come to the realisation that there is no formula for self care. What I think falls into this category will be totally different to what others think and do. To me self care is about doing things that help me stop, breathe and feel like me. They help prevent me from turning into the grumpy Mummy monster that needs it to be bedtime and they help me appreciate the moments of fun and laughter.
Finally, and possibly most importantly, they stop me from being the woman who is obsessively cleaning her rangehood at weird hours because it is something she can control and manage. As you may guess I have actually done this but my issues with control and organisation are a story for another time.
So in reflection what did I do over four days that fall into this category (disclaimer – my boys were with their dad for two of the days so I did have a bit more me time than normal and therefore the list is longer).
- Nails – I go and get my nails done about every three weeks. It is some time out that is not always peaceful but that makes me feel more like me, more together and makes me happy when I am typing on my computer.
- Walking – when I don’t have the boys I go for a walk – early in the morning if I can. I always listen to music so that I don’t spend the time over thinking as I often do. The loop I do only takes me about 20 mins but it makes me feel more awake, gives me more energy and gets me up and moving on days when it can be hard to get started.
- Smiling Minds – I have always been a light sleeper. Adding two children, a separation and my sons health problems have made a decent sleep almost impossible. I have now started a routine where I take homeopathic formula melatonin when getting ready for bed and then listen to Smiling Minds (the sleep mindfulness meditations on the app) once in bed. It is working really well and I am now asleep before the 8.20 mins is up. I don’t think I need to cover the benefits of sleep. Staying asleep is another story!!
- Music – Spotify is my new best friend (in close second is Netflix). Music gets me out of my head, removes the deafening quiet when my boys are gone and allows me to dance and sing my way around the house.
- Easter Egg Hunt – I set up a great Easter Egg Hunt in the backyard for my boys before they came home from their dads. My youngest had been talking non stop about how he hoped the Easter Bunny would do a hunt. The reason I have added this to the list is that for half an hour the three of us were outside, having fun, thinking of nothing else and I got to enjoy the fact that for a little while longer they still believe in the magic of Easter/Christmas etc. And that is good for my heart and soul.
In the end I think it is important to remember that while it is important you take moments for yourself and practice self-care it has to be what is right for you. There is no point committing yourself to self care that is actually adding more stress and pressure. So I will continue to bake, have beautiful nails, exercise, sleep, listen to music, dance and enjoy my boys as much as I can before they hit teenage years and no longer want to talk to me.